The wraparound tuba stolen from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is back. Creative director and musician Ben Jaffe said he got the 12-year-old Italian sousaphone back Monday, thanks to a tipster who wants to stay anonymous. Jaffe says it is damaged and the big taped letters reading "Preservation Hall, New Orleans" were removed from it. He says repairs may take two or three weeks and could cost $1,000 to $2,000.
, FILE - In this May 6, 2012, file photo, Ben Jaffe, tuba player and director of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band hugs George Wein, founder of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, as well as the Newport Jazz Festival, after Wein performed a song on the piano at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans. A distinctive wraparound tuba that was stolen in February 2018 from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in New Orleans is back. Creative director and musician Ben Jaffe said he recovered the 12-year-old Italian sousaphone Monday, March 12, 2018, thanks to a tipster who wished to remain anonymous.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
12 of March 2018 23:38:00
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A distinctive wraparound tuba that was stolen last month from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in New Orleans is back.
Creative director and musician Ben Jaffe said he recovered the 12-year-old Italian sousaphone Monday, thanks to a tipster who wished to remain anonymous. He didn't elaborate on exactly how he got it back.
"We were notified late last week that it'd been spotted," he said by phone. "It took a few days for us to make all the right connections."
Tape used to spell out "Preservation Hall, New Orleans" in black-and-white letters is gone from the bell, Jaffe noted. However, he said, the tape had protected the finish under it from 12 years' wear and tear, so he could still make out the words.
Even without the lettering, he said, the sousaphone would be easy to identify because it is an Italian-made instrument, and a rarity in the U.S.
"I've never met another person in the U.S. who uses this make ," he added.
The sousaphone is lighter than most, making it easier to march with.
The band is based at Preservation Hall, a French Quarter venue which was created in 1961 to help keep traditional jazz alive and presents more than 350 nights of live concerts a year.
Jaffe, who plays the tuba, said the sousaphone will have to be sent to a specialist for repairs because piston-like valves used to change notes were bent.
"Even though it's really big, it's a delicate instrument," he said, adding repairs may take a few weeks and cost up to $2,000.
He posted a message on Preservation Hall's Facebook page Monday, saying an outpouring of concern led to the tuba's return, adding, "I want to thank everyone near and far for the overwhelming show of support!"
Jaffe posted a photo of himself with the sousaphone, smiling and raising his right fist high.
"We're all over the top that it came back," he said. "I think the whole city feels a sense of relief."